The announcement of a new enhanced Summer Programme for students with special educational needs and those facing disadvantage is good news for Kildare students, according to Fine Gael TD and Minister of State Martin Heydon.

Minister Heydon was welcoming an announcement from his colleague Minister for Special Education Josepha Madigan for the provision of expanded summer education programmes for pupils with complex special educational needs and those at greatest risk of educational disadvantage, as a Covid-19 pandemic response measure, for summer 2021.

Up to €40 million in funding will be available for the programme, a 100% increase on the allocation for summer provision in 2020.

Minister Heydon said “I know how important this announcement will be for families of students with complex needs in Kildare. Many will welcome the opportunity to return to the classroom over the summer to benefit from additional support and routine after a very difficult year.

“Fine Gael in Government is determined to support students with additional needs and their families. We know that education is vital in ensuring that every child can reach their full potential. Funding for this year’s programme has increased by 100% to €40 million which clearly demonstrates our commitment in this area.

“For the first time ever, all schools will be able to host a summer programme, meaning that more students than ever before will be able to take part. The programme will include students in special schools and special classes, as well students with complex needs in mainstream classes.

“I encourage all schools in Kildare to avail of this opportunity for the benefit of local students with complex needs who need it most,” Minister Heydon added.

The programme’s aims are to support pupils to re-engage with education, build their confidence and increase their motivation, promote wellbeing and, for some who are at key transition stages, help to ensure they can move on to their planned educational placement next September along with their peers.

All schools (primary and-post primary) are encouraged to provide summer programmes and the eligibility criteria have been extended to include post-primary children with complex needs and children at risk of educational disadvantage.

Prior to this expansion, summer programmes were only available to special schools and pupils in special classes in primary schools and DEIS schools. This announcement recognises the value of such school-based programmes for children with complex needs and those at risk of educational disadvantage in all schools.  A home-based summer programme will continue to be available for children with complex needs where their schools are not providing a school-based programme.

Further details on the schemes and how schools can apply will be made available over the coming period at